In the company of a travelling brown spot

First off, let me share some good news with all those comrades trying to lose those darned impossible pounds: there’s hope! All you gotta do is drive through Utah, Arizona, Nevada etc. in the heart of summer (above 40 Celsius is child’s play and at times gets close to 50) in a non-air-conditioned van and drive all day when the sun’s at its hottest and ta da! You will be a new slimmer self albeit with increased laundry cost from profuse sweating.

Plus if you always have an itch to be outside and refuse to apply sticky sun lotions, you will arrive at the second stage of the accomplishment: a traveling brown spot as I soon became and realized through a multitude of shots that did not make the lime light. All was well with the photos overall: the breathtaking vistas, the beautiful Sandra, and … oh wait…what’s that next to her? Hmmm, must be the infamous traveling brown spot!

In the company of a traveling brown spot

After leaving Grand Teton, we traveled south via Wyoming , Idaho, and Utah to get to Salt Lake City. En route to the city, we spent a night on Antelope Island State Park which was recommended as a great spot to see the Salt Lake. After silently driving through a dry stinking lake bed (think about a dozen of those vault toilets, all left open) of about 15 km, we got to the island and found the heat relentless even in the evening compared to the nice cool of Wyoming but it made for good shots:

Salt Lake from Anetelope Island drive

Salt Lake from Anetelope Island drive

The brave soul that she is, Sandra decided to test the touted buoyancy of the salty lake to get to which she had to wad through massive swarms of flies which have made the lakeshore their home:

Sandra braving the Salt Lake

Sandra braving thre Salt Lake

I fared better with a game drive to see the namesake undulates of the island. We saw many white tail deer and the pronghorns in the evening light. Pronghorns are a relic of a bygone era when there were cheetahs in North America as they are ridiculously fast but have no one else to run from at that speed anymore. All the more to impress the ladies:

Prong Horns


The beautiful sunset somewhat offset the unrelenting heat and we made our way to Salt Lake City the next morning. The city is very well planned with a natural flowing stream through it as well as greens which were not originally native to this place but planted by the industrious Mormons when they got here over 100 years ago to escape persecution in the then American boundaries with their then leader Brigham Young.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City from temple office tower

We toured through the main attraction, the Temple Square with the help from two Sisters from the Latter Day Saints organization of Mormons. These ‘sisters’ are actually not nuns in traditional sense as they are normal women coming from countries around the world based on a random lottery basis and stay a couple years with a temple. The 2 who gave us the tour came from Canada and Switzerland and were our age. Contrary to popular belief or wishes by some (men), they were not married to the same dude as polygamy was banned in 1890 by the Mormon leaders. We had a great discussion on the similarities of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam as we visited various buildings in the huge complex:


Might as well get blessed while we're at it

The Tabernacle building was quite something: built over a 100 years ago, it has such great acoustics that one can even hear a nail drop at the stage from the furthest benches without any sound systems.

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle

I also had an ulterior motive of these urban travels: escape the heat to nice cool buildings :). Although the ends justified the means and I ended up gaining a better understanding of Mormom beliefs.

From Salt Lake City we drove south (slowly via multiple stops to grab ice cold drinks) and took the longer but the more scenic route to Bryce Canyon via Hwy 12 which we’d recommend to anyone. This road is a destination unto itself with amazing views of mountains  and canyons through which it cuts:

Scenic byway 12 winding through canyons

Scenic byway 12 winding through canyons

No amount of guidebooks could have prepared us for the grandeur of the Bryce Canyon with its Hoodoos. Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and “broken” lands.

The actual word comes from voodoo and means to cast a spell; the native Navajo Indians believed these were created when bad people were converted to rock by a spirit fox. Well, the fox cast one amazing spell I tell you:


First look at Hoodoos

Hoodoos from sunrise point

Hoodoos from sunrise point

To see these hoodoos, visit the canyon rims from Sunrise to Sunset point where most people view them from the overlooks ; however the most rewarding way to see them is by hiking the trails that descend into the canyon. We’d highly recommend the Navajo/Queen’s Garden trail combination. Come early in the cool of the morning unless of course you’d just love to lose them pounds by the hour in the afternoon heat:

Different shades of Bryce canyon

Different shades of Bryce canyon

Hiking the Navajo loop

Hiking the Navajo loop

Scientifically speaking, the hoodoos are a result of erosion at work in this sequential process:

Regardless of how they came to be, looking at the vast valley of voodoos does have a profound and almost spiritual effect. Their shadows seem to dance in the early morning sun as if finishing up a secret play from the night just passed and preparing to stand still again for the day like guardian to the canyon. After a few millennia, the Hoodoos turn into sand and merge back with the earth whence they came like we all will one day:

Hoodoos turned to sand

Hoodoos turned to sand

I was going to talk about our trip to Zion and Grand Canyon in this post but from the looks of it I’ll have to save it for another day and another McDonald’s parking lot (with free wifi)!

– The traveling brown spot

(PS from Sandra: The heat was not THAT bad (maybe somewhat intense) but everybody who loves the summer would be delighted to sit outside in a warm breeze until 4 in the morning at 45 Celcius! AMAZING!!!)

You can see the full album here:

3 Responses to “In the company of a travelling brown spot”

  1. Roy Says:

    Hey man those canyon pics are amazing. I can’t tell if Jesus is about to bless you or break into a dance. We miss you guys both! Also – what netbook should i get? Dell or Asus?

  2. drifters Says:

    Hey man, great to hear from you! lol, i’m not even sure if Jesus could be there as it was as hot as in an elephant’s ass. for the netbook, i’ve had good experience with my dell due to features, price, and easy updates.

  3. Pete Says:

    Hey hey, looks like things are going well. Glad to see it.

    And Sagi, man – amazing photography! I mean, you have an unfair advantage in that you can put Sandra into any picture and immediately make it look better, but even the shots without her look fantastic.

    Happy trails, my friends!

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